Festive attraction recreates joy of Christmas morning

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THE free festive event, ‘At No.25’ is now open at Golden Square and will run throughout December with live performances on Saturdays.

Culture Warrington has transformed the former Shipton’s jewellery store, opposite Starbucks, into At No.25 – a recreation of a family home on the most special day of the year for many.

At No.25 is open throughout December and the atmospheric space includes a living room, packed with presents, festive treats and a Christmas tree, and a family dining table prepared for Christmas Day with crackers, decorations and even a crocheted and knitted food.

The old jewellery cabinets have also been filled with tiny models of homes with a snowy backdrop and there is a beautiful log-pile centrepiece with candles, stockings and a popcorn wreath.

There is plenty for young visitors to discover as they explore all the nooks and crannies of the space and it is hoped the attraction will evoke people’s feelings and memories of their own childhood and Christmases gone by.

Leah Biddle, Cultural Manager at Culture Warrington, is leading the project with match funding from Warrington BID and Warrington Borough Council and support from Golden Square.

She said: “We wanted to create a family-friendly attraction – something that was really accessible and would spread a bit of Christmas joy after a difficult year.

“People will be able to look through the window and feel festive whenever they visit Golden Square. But the unit will also be open at certain times throughout the day when families can immerse themselves within interactive displays and take pictures.

“The whole thing is very much about capturing the magic of Christmas morning and creating a really festive atmosphere.”

At No.25 will be brought to life by artists Daisy James and Enya Koster and storyteller Felicity Goodman, who all live and work in Warrington. They have been working painstakingly on the project since the beginning of November with the help of around 14 volunteers.

Leah added: “It is a really immersive experience. We hope it will be something a little bit different for Warrington.

“There are going to be lots of largescale pieces but then there going to be lots of small, intricate pieces because it’s an old jeweller’s and on the back wall are lots of cubbyholes and cabinets.

“We hope people can go a few times and each time discover something new because there will be so much to see.”

Felicity has also led workshops with Warrington Wolves Foundation’s special educational needs group, Creative Remedies, Home-Start and older people to get a sense of what Christmas morning means to a wide range of people. That has create a soundscape to make the attraction even more atmospheric.

There will even be live performances with the Sugar Plum Fairy coming to life on 4, 11 and 18 December from 10am to 11.30am and 12.30pm and 2pm.

Ian Cox, Centre Director at Golden Square said: “This Christmas at Golden Square we are asking our customers to keep a look out for those less fortunate in our community and have a very caring Christmas.

“This exhibition will hopefully stir up some wonderful memories for people and take them back to their childhood and a time when Christmas felt magical.”

Maureen McLaughlin, cabinet member for culture at Warrington Borough Council, added: “At No.25 promises to be a really Christmassy experience that will delight young and old alike.  It’s sure to get people into the festive spirit, and will be quite unique – a place of discovery and curiosity featuring the imaginative work of some of our talented local artists.

“The live performances will add an extra-special sense of wonder – a magical welcome awaits.”

If At No.25 is a success it is hoped that it will return and be developed upon year after year.

Leah said: “We can’t wait for the people of Warrington to take a look inside ‘No.25’. It wouldn’t be possible without the arts groups, Priestly College students, Warrington charity shops and other community groups who have supported us.”

Amy Dawber, Warrington BID Manager, added: “We are really pleased to be able to support At No.25 this year. A year where many in our community have faced significant challenges as the result of Covid-19.

“It will add a touch of sparkle to all the wonderful Christmas activities that will run throughout the festive season in Warrington for visitors and shoppers to enjoy. What a fantastic addition to our town.”

At No.25 is open daily throughout December with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and bank holidays and entry is free. Standard opening times are between 10am and 4pm but could be subject to change. To plan your visit, go to facebook.com/warringtonartsfestival

Volunteers are also being sought for At No.25. Anyone interested should email info@warringtonartsfestival.co.uk

Daisy James and Sugar Plumb Fairy Enya Koster

One of the window displays

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